One week before Election Day, some students still don’t know if they are registered to vote.
Since the beginning of the semester, students have been presented with multiple ways to register: they could have gone online, sent paperwork to the Philadelphia County Board of Elections in the City Commissioners office or registered at one of the many pop-up tables that had been scattered across campus until Oct. 11, when voter registration for the November elections ended.
Kevin Santoni, a senior management and information systems major, and Gina Messick, a junior advertising major, both said they registered online — and Messick also changed her address to Philadelphia using a form her roommate gave her.
“We really encouraged students to stay on campus to vote. … It increases the convenience factor,” said Collin Wardius, a freshman philosophy and economics major who interns for Hillary for America and sat at the pop-up tables to get students registered.
The tables were set up by the Pennsylvania Democratic Party. “It’s also important to notice that Pennsylvania is a swing state … therefore [the students’] votes are more meaningful when it stays in Pennsylvania,” Wardius said.
“I think it’s is a good thing,” Messick said. “[The tables] can get annoying, but it’s important enough that it didn’t bother me.”
Messick said she didn’t check her registration status after sending in the form.
“I didn’t know I needed to check,” she added.
Though he didn’t register through the tables, Santoni said that he didn’t really care about the presence of the tables because he knew he was already registered.
“The goal of the registration tables was to ensure that every student at Temple was able to vote at their student address,” said Wardius, who has volunteered and interned for Hillary for America in Philadelphia since the beginning of the semester.
“That was achieved mostly by just being out there as often as possible,” Wardius said, adding that the pop-up tables were an efficient way to get students registered. “We can ensure, for the most part, that the information is accurate and that it will be filled out in a manner that is accepted by the Board of Elections.”
Wardius said he thought students did not take advantage of online registration.
“It is imperative that the forms are filled out properly,” Wardius added. “Small errors in the forms do occur at times, just from misspellings or unclear handwriting.”
Depending on the error, some students may be left unable to vote on Election Day.
Wardius said it was the Board of Elections’ responsibility to make sure Temple students were registered rather than the registration tables.
“It’s not really up to us to get those voters in the system,” he said. “I think there are always going to be troubles with penmanship that we might not recognize and that voters might not recognize at the time they’re signing up. Therefore, I don’t think it so much falls on us as [it] does … the Board of Elections.”
He added that “errors are inherent” in the registration process.
Each day after tabling on campus, the registration forms were given to the Board of Elections the next day.
Wardius said he did not know who was responsible for delivering the forms to the board.
While organizations for the Democratic Party have been focusing on registering students, Temple College Republicans have been focusing more on traditional canvassing methods to engage voters.
Because the Republican National Committee and the Pennsylvania GOP don’t target heavily Democratic areas, Temple College Republicans have spent their time canvassing neighborhoods, making phone calls and attending events for Republicans, said Austin Severns, chairman of Temple College Republicans.
“Why would we go to Temple and register 100 people in a day, just for 90 of them to be Democrats?” Severns said.
Francesca Furey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.